Frank Nastasi - Rotten Tomatoes

Frank Nastasi

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Frank Nastasi was an actor and comedian who was best known for his television work in association with Soupy Sales from 1964 through 1966. Nastasi was born in Detroit, MI, in 1923. He was drawn to performing, specifically comedy, from a relatively early age, and was already appearing in nightclubs while still attending high school. He was hired by television station WXYZ in the early '50s to work on a children's show called Tommy Twinkle. He went on to appear on a string of children's shows, including Barnaby Bear and Wixie's Wonderland. But it was a distinctly part-time gig, as the fill-in puppeteer on Soupy Sales' local Detroit television show, which was produced at the same station, that would lead to Nastasi becoming a favorite of kids all over the United States. During the mid-'50s, for one week each year, Sales' regular puppeteer took a vacation, and Nastasi was his replacement. It was Nastasi who gave Pookie the Lion -- who had been portrayed as mute -- a voice, as a laid-back hipster. Nastasi later moved to New York, where he earned a master's degree from New York University and acted in some Broadway and off-Broadway shows. By 1964, Soupy Sales had moved his operation to New York and began a new show on WNEW-TV Channel 5. Nastasi was hired for The Soupy Sales Show, which was syndicated nationally. In addition to serving as puppeteer, Nastasi appeared on camera in numerous sketches, sometimes in some of the most delightfully bad sight gags ever perpetrated on television (in the renowned Frank Sinatra/Sammy Davis Jr./Trini Lopez restaurant sketch, Sinatra tells waiter Soupy Sales that with his salad, he'd like "an Italian dressing," and Sales duly cues Nastasi to step on camera putting on his tie, coat, etc.). Nastasi also appeared on Sales' hit album Soupy Sales Sez Do the Mouse and Other Teen Hits, released in early 1965, and worked in Sales' starring feature film, Birds Do It (1966). But Nastasi's most memorable screen role, for one generation of young viewers, was as part of the on-going adventure-serial parody The Adventures of Philo Kvetch, which ran as part of The Soupy Sales Show. Nastasi played the part of Onions Oregano, the onion-addicted, foul-breathed chief henchman of The Mask, the serial's arch villain.Nastasi continued to work in theater during the 1970s, '80s, and '90s, and played small roles in a few motion pictures and made-for-TV movies, and performed by the Lambs Club in New York. He passed away in 2004.

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT BOX OFFICE YEAR
No Score Yet Eat and Run
  • Pick-up Driver
1986
No Score Yet The Night They Robbed Big Bertha's
  • Chief White Eagle
1975

Quotes from Frank Nastasi's Characters

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